Famous Black Activists

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 1 
Martin Luther King Jr.
(African-American Civil Rights Movement Leader Who Used Civil Disobedience to Combat Racism)
Martin Luther King Jr.
15
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: April 4, 1968

A leader in the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. A man of Christian faith who was inspired by Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality.  

 2 
Harriet Tubman
(Activist and Abolitionist Known for Her Efforts in Rescuing Slaves and Abolition of Slavery)
Harriet Tubman
17
Birthdate: 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 3 
Desmond Tutu
(First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
Desmond Tutu
5
Birthdate: October 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klerksdorp, South Africa
Died: December 26, 2021
Desmond Tutu is known for his anti-Apartheid activism in South Africa. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, he has also been the Bishop of Johannesburg. His efforts to eradicate AIDS, poverty, anti-LGBT sentiments, and human rights violations earned him the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 4 
Sam Cooke
(Singer-songwriter)
Sam Cooke
6
Birthdate: January 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 11, 1964
The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World. He began singing gospel as a child and later joined The Soul Stirrers. He was shot and killed by a motel manager in Los Angeles. 
 5 
Forest Whitaker
(Best Known for His Role in 'The Last King of Scotland')
Forest Whitaker
6
Birthdate: July 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Longview, Texas, United States
Forest Whitaker is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as real-life dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Fans also loved him in Rogue One and Ghost Dog. He is an advocate of the UN’s Global Goals and supports peace-building initiatives and programs that help war victims.
 6 
James Baldwin
(Author Best Known for His Novel 'Go Tell It on the Mountain')
James Baldwin
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 7 
W. E. B. Du Bois
(Civil Rights Activists)
W. E. B. Du Bois
11
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 8 
Johnnie Cochran
(American Lawyer and Civil Activist Best Known for Defending and Acquitting 'O. J. Simpson')
Johnnie Cochran
7
Birthdate: October 2, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Died: March 29, 2005
Johnnie Cochran was an American civil activist and lawyer. Cochran played an important role in the acquittal of former football player O. J. Simpson in connection with the murder of the latter's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. Cochran had also represented other celebrities like Michael Jackson, Sean Combs, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Riddick Bowe, and Jim Brown to name a few.
 9 
Danny Glover
(Known for His Lead Role as Roger Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' Film Series)
Danny Glover
5
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

Danny Glover is an American actor whose career has spanned more than four decades. Apart from being an actor, Danny Glover has had a major impact as an activist; he has made his presence felt as an activist in countries like Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Israel, and many African countries.

 10 
Laverne Cox
(First Transgender Person To Appear on Cover of 'Time' Magazine)
Laverne Cox
18
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
 11 
Eartha Kitt
(Singer with a Distinctive Voice Known for her Hits "Let's Do It", and "C'est si bon")
Eartha Kitt
4
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

 12 
Ruby Bridges
(Philanthropist)
Ruby Bridges
8
Birthdate: September 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tylertown
American civil rights activist Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend an all-white educational institute when she joined the Louisiana-based William Frantz Elementary School in November 1960. She was the subject of Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With and the TV movie Ruby Bridges.
 13 
Coretta Scott King
(Civil-Rights Activist and the Wife of Martin Luther King Jr)
Coretta Scott King
11
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heiberger, Alabama, United States
Died: January 30, 2006

The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women's Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilising African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre, a not-for-profit organization.

 14 
Marsha P. Johnson
(Civil Rights Activist)
Marsha P. Johnson
10
Birthdate: August 24, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
Died: July 6, 1992
 15 
Ida B. Wells
(Women's Rights Activist and Civil Rights Leader)
Ida B. Wells
4
Birthdate: July 16, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 25, 1931
Civil rights and women's rights activist Ida B. Wells is remembered for speaking up against the lynching of Blacks in the U.S. She was born a slave and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. She later co-founded the NAACP. She also co-owned and wrote for Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.
 16 
Fela Kuti
(Multi-Instrumentalist & the Creator of ‘Afro-beat’, a Genre that Fuses West African Music with American Funk & Jazz)
Fela Kuti
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died: August 2, 1997
Political activist and Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti initially performed with his band Koola Lobitos and later renamed it Nigeria '70. He was inspired by the Black Power movement, which also gradually transformed his musical style. He married 27 women in 1978, to mark the anniversary of the Kalakuta Republic attack.
 17 
Bobby Seale
(Political Activist Who Co-founded the Black Panther Party)
Bobby Seale
13
Birthdate: October 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liberty, Texas, United States
 18 
Solomon Northup
5
Birthdate: July 10, 1807
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minerva, New York
Died: 1863 AD
Abolitionist Solomon Northup had authored the memoir Twelve Years a Slave, which was later adapted into the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. Northup was abducted and sold as a slave to a planter in Louisiana. He was eventually freed with the help of the governor New York.
 19 
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
(Politician, Anti-Apartheid Activist)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
6
Birthdate: September 26, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bizana, Eastern Cape
Died: April 2, 2018
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had first met legendary anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela at a bus stop when she was barely 22. They ended up getting married the following year. Winnie’s journey was marred by bans and harassment by the South African government, but the determined social worker revolutionized South African politics.
 20 
Stokely Carmichael
(Key Leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States)
Stokely Carmichael
6
Birthdate: January 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: November 15, 1998

Stokely Carmichael was a significant part of the American civil rights movement and the worldwide Pan-African movement. He was associated with the Black Panther Party and the All-African People's Revolutionary Party. The Black Power movement leader later adopted the name Kwame Ture and traveled extensively through Africa.

 21 
Martin Luther King III
(Human Rights Activist)
Martin Luther King III
8
Birthdate: October 23, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
The American civil rights activist has continued his legendary father Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for racial equality. Martin Luther King III headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded by his father and endorsed Barack Obama’s nomination for American presidency. King fought against police brutality, but he also denounced capital punishment, saying he did not belive in retributional justice.
 22 
Paul Robeson
(Singer, Actor, and Black Activist.)
Paul Robeson
5
Birthdate: April 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Died: January 23, 1976

Singer and actor, Paul Robeson, was as much known for his music and films as he was for his political activism. As a black man who had to endure great difficulties to establish himself, he was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. As a performer, he was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

 23 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(Critic of Islam and Advocate of Women Rights)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
5
Birthdate: November 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, and scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the founder of an organization for the defense of women's rights, the AHA Foundation. She actively opposes forced marriage, honor violence, and child marriage. A former Muslim, she now identifies as an atheist and is a vocal critic of Islam. She is a recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize.

 24 
Omarosa Manigault
6
Birthdate: February 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States
 25 
Olaudah Equiano
(Anti Slavery Activist)
Olaudah Equiano
5
Birthdate: 1745 AD
Birthplace: Igboland
Died: March 31, 1797

Olaudah Equiano was a writer and abolitionist who was part of the abolitionist group, Sons of Africa, composed of Africans living in Britain in the 18th century. Enslaved as a child and sold to different “masters,” he eventually purchased his freedom and became one of the leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s.  

 26 
Betty Shabazz
(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African-American Activist Malcolm X)
Betty Shabazz
10
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pinehurst, Georgia, United States
Died: June 23, 1997

Civil rights activist and educator Betty Shabazz, or Betty X, was the wife of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Raised by her adoptive parents in Detroit, she met Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam event in Harlem. She died when her apartment was set on fire set by her grandson.

 27 
Ruby Dee
(Actress and Civil Rights Activist Known for Her Pioneering Work in African American Theatre and Films)
Ruby Dee
3
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: June 11, 2014

Ruby Dee was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, poet, civil rights activist, and journalist. She is best remembered for playing Mahalee Lucas in the 2007 film American Gangster, which earned her the Screen Actors Guild Award for Supporting Role. Dee also won a Grammy and Emmy during her career. She was also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

 28 
Audre Lorde
(Writer)
Audre Lorde
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: November 17, 1992

Author and poet Audre Lorde is remembered as a firebrand feminist and a champion for the LGBT community. Openly lesbian, she penned iconic volumes such as Cables to Rage and The Black Unicorn. She also recorded her 14-year struggle with cancer in The Cancer Journals and A Burst of Light.

 29 
Miriam Makeba
3
Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: November 10, 2008

Miriam Makeba was a South African singer, actress, songwriter, civil rights activist, and United Nations goodwill ambassador. One of the first African musicians to make an impact on the international stage, Makeba is credited with popularizing Afropop genres. She also advocated against apartheid through music and played a major role in the civil rights movement.

 30 
Kim Wayans
(Actress)
Kim Wayans
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
 31 
Ossie Davis
(Former actor who appeared in films with wife Ruby Dee)
Ossie Davis
3
Birthdate: December 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cogdell, Georgia, United States
Died: February 4, 2005
 32 
Angelica Ross
(Businessperson)
Angelica Ross
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin
 33 
Candace Owens
(Conservative Author, Political Commentator & Activist)
Candace Owens
135
Birthdate: April 29, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stamford, Connecticut, United States

A political activist of color, Candace Owens first gained visibility as an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Having changed her political stance since then, she is now known for her increasingly pro-Trump activism. Her support for Trump and criticism of Black Lives Matter have made her a controversial figure.

 34 
Stella Immanuel
(Physician, writer)
Stella Immanuel
5
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon
 35 
Janet Mock
(Writer & Transgender Activist Know for Her Debut Book, The Memoir Redefining Realness, Became a New York Times Bestseller)
Janet Mock
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
 36 
Chirlane McCray
(Writer, Social Activist)
Chirlane McCray
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
 37 
Bernice King
(Minister)
Bernice King
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Bernice King is an American minister best known as the daughter of the popular activist and leader Martin Luther King Jr. Over the years, Barnice King has supported many noble causes for which she has been honored with several awards. In 2009, she was honored at the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Convention for her service to women.

 38 
Benjamin Banneker
(Compiler of Almanacs)
Benjamin Banneker
3
Birthdate: November 9, 1731
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore County
Died: October 9, 1806

Benjamin Banneker was born to a free African-American mother and a former slave father, and was largely self-educated. While he showed immense talent in both mathematics and astronomy, having predicted a solar eclipse with precision, he also wrote essays on civil rights and rallied against slavery.

 39 
Lorraine Hansberry
(Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist)
Lorraine Hansberry
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 12, 1965

Lorraine Hansberry was a writer and playwright best remembered for her play A Raisin in the Sun which emphasizes the plight of African-Americans living under racial segregation. At the age of 29, Lorraine Hansberry received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, becoming the youngest playwright and the first African-American dramatist to win the prestigious award.

 40 
Katrina Pierson
(Political Activists)
Katrina Pierson
4
Birthdate: July 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kansas, USA
 41 
Ken Carter
(Coach)
Ken Carter
4
Birthdate: February 13, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fernwood, Mississippi, United States
 42 
Denise Nicholas
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
 43 
Wangari Maathai
(The First African Woman to Receive 'Nobel Peace Prize')
Wangari Maathai
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ihithe, Kenya
Died: September 25, 2011

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental, social, and political activist. She achieved popularity after becoming the first African woman to be honored with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. She is credited with founding a non-governmental organization called The Green Belt Movement (GBM), which focuses on women's rights and environmental conservation.

 44 
Patrisse Cullors
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
 45 
Van Jones
(CNN News and Political Commentator Best Known for His New York Times Bestselling Book 'The Green Collar Economy')
Van Jones
10
Birthdate: September 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee, United States

Especially known for his honest and poignant commentaries, Van Jones is an award-winning political contributor, commentator, and the host of popular CNN programs like Van Jones Show and The Redemption Project. Also a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than twenty-five years, he has founded number of non-profit organizations and authored several best-selling books.

 46 
Fannie Lou Hamer
(American Community Organizer and Women's Rights Activist)
Fannie Lou Hamer
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States
Died: March 14, 1977

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American community organizer and women's rights activist. She also played an important role in the civil rights movement. Hamer is credited with co-founding the Freedom Democratic Party as well as the National Women's Political Caucus. In 1993, Fannie Lou Hamer was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 47 
Barbara Jordan
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston
Died: January 17, 1996
 48 
Al Sharpton
(Civil Rights Activist & The Founder of the National Action Network)
Al Sharpton
5
Birthdate: October 3, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 49 
James Meredith
(Civil Rights Activist and the First African American Student Admitted to the 'University of Mississippi')
James Meredith
3
Birthdate: June 25, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States

James Meredith created history by becoming the first Black student at the University of Mississippi. A civil rights activist and an author, he had also been part of the U.S. Air Force. He was shot at while on his March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, but survived.

 50 
Graça Machel
(First Lady of Mozambique (1975-1986), First Lady of South Africa (1998-1999))
Graça Machel
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gaza Province, Mozambique

Graça Machel is known for her association with Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and has been the country’s first education minister. She has also been married to both former Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president Nelson Mandela. Through The Elders, she is devoted to working for women’s and children’s rights.